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Old December 3, 2017, 03:58 PM   #1
JN01
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.223 rifle, Ruger vs Savage

I'm thinking about acquiring a bolt action .223, mainly for range plinking. I don't need a high end gun/optic capable of taking off a gnats wing at 1000 yards, but still want something of decent quality. Budget around $5-600.

The two candidates I am most interested in are the Ruger American and the Savage Model 11.

The Ruger American Ranch is chambered for .223/5.56 which might be an advantage. They run about $400 without a scope.

Savage has the Hog Hunter for about the same price, but with iron sights. They also have the Trophy Hunter package with a Nikon scope for around $480.

Any takes on how they compare? What are the pluses and minuses of each?
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Old December 3, 2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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Savage is running some rebates right now... take a serous look at the Savage, and maybe shop around a bit.

I have a Savage 10T that is fantastic. I've shot a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) and while it's OK, it's not anywhere near the Savage. Just my opinion.
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Old December 3, 2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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I have a HOWA .223 that is superbly accurate but only with bullets under 60 grains. This is not a handicap for me but may be for other users.
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Old December 4, 2017, 03:53 AM   #4
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I have a 223 Ruger heavy barrel, M77 Hawkeye super accurate with all the bullets I have tried in it, up to 62 gr. and I have a Tikka T3 Lite that shoots under 1" at 100 yds with 50 gr vmax bullets.
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Old December 4, 2017, 03:59 AM   #5
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I would go with Savage or Tikka simply because I have no experience with the Ruger. The Savage and the Tikka are excellent accurate rifles and will match accuracy with any rifle priced several hundred dollars more.
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Old December 4, 2017, 05:38 AM   #6
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Well here is my take on it. The Ruger American and Savage 10/11 rifles all seem to be accurate. So that's a wash. The sights on the Hog Hunter aren't a real bonus IMO, if it was a ghost ring or aperture/peep sight mounted on the rear ring of the receiver I might change my opinion. Most people are just going to mount optics of their choice on the HH and be done with it.

Ruger American Ranch Pros:
1:8 twist barrel will reliably stabilize bullets like the 75 grain A-Max.
Magazine holds 5 rounds.
Comes with a scope rail for more mounting options.
Threaded barrel for suppressor or brake.
Bolt release is better.
Three locking lugs giving a 60 degree bolt throw. This can help with scope clearance depending on scope.
Personal Pros:
Lighter weight than either Savage you are looking at making it more fun to carry all day.
Shorter overall length, making it handier to get in and out of a hunting blind or vehicle.



RAR Cons:
Magazines can be problematic, Ruger will usually send you a new one if you have issues though.
Magazine well is molded into the stock.
Magazine limits COAL with longer bullets for the reloader.
Injection molded stock isn't that great, but it does work.
Very little aftermarket support.
I personally don't like the Accutrigger style safety on trigger.

Savage Pros:
Huge aftermarket support compared to the Ruger.
Current Rebates
Both magazine systems on these rifles have fewer problems reported.
Both magazines allow for longer COAL for the reloader.
Hog Hunter comes with internal magazine, no detachable magazine possibly to loose.
Hog Hunter has the bolt release where it should be on a Savage.
Hog Hunter is threaded for suppressor or brake.
Hog Hunter has 20" barrel that's a heavier contour than the Trophy Hunter.
Trophy Hunter comes with serviceable scope mounts, rings, and optics nothing extra to buy.

Savage Cons:
Slower 1:9 twist rate which may not reliably stabilize heavy bullets.
Action size is long and can lead to scope mounting issues if using a two piece base with certain scopes.
90 degree bolt throw can possibly cause problems with low mounted scopes and clearance.
Magazines only hold 4 rounds.
Heavier than the Ruger American Ranch, both rifles weighing 7.25 lbs per web site.
Stocks are the same as the RAR injection molded, not great but serviceable.
Bolt release is in the wrong place on the Trophy Hunter IMO.
Plastic magazine well on the Trophy Hunter DBM system, Savage has a better alloy one but it isn't offered on the models you're looking at.
Personal Cons:
Trophy and Hog Hunter is longer overall, making it more difficult to maneuver in situations where the RAR wins.
I don't like the Accutrigger's safety on the trigger.
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Old December 4, 2017, 06:03 AM   #7
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I’ve got a hog hunter in 223 and in 308. Just yesterday I did some load development with the 223 at 100 yards. I was outside with a 10-15mph headwind.

I used 55 vmax and their cheap bulk 55 sp
Loads were from 24.3-25.0 8208xbr with non sorted LC brass and cci 400

All the vmax bullets went into an inch or less with all charge weights
The cheap sp bullets weren’t far behind

I also shot ppu 69 and 75 match factory ammo
69 went into an inch and 75 about 3/4”

I am pleased with that as I will be using it for coyotes.

I also plan on getting a Ruger American in 223 and expect to have about the same accuracy from it.

The 308 hh seems to be quite accurate so far and with the brake I out on there recoil is very minimal.

I’m not sure about some of the stuff posted above though. The Ruger predator and savage hog hunter feel nearly identical to me, both are threaded, about same length, barrel profile about the same, weight is nearly identical, etc. Barrel on Ruger is 2” longer than the hh.

There are 3 main differences to me
1.) thr Ruger uses Mags and they fixed their mag issue a couple years ago too
2.) getting another stock for the savage is easier because the Ruger uses the power bedding system
3.) hog hunter has iron sights

Ruger has 1/8 twist and savage 1/9 but unless you only want to shoot bullets longer than the 75bthp it won’t matter

Ruger has the 60 degree throw but again, for the average person it doesn’t matter

Last edited by VoodooMountain; December 4, 2017 at 06:56 AM.
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Old December 4, 2017, 08:30 AM   #8
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I'm extremely pleased with my Ruger American rifles. I have a standard rifle in 223, and Predators in 308 and 6.5 Creedmoor. I have some very nice rifles but the Rugers are the most accurate rifles in my safes.

Ruger is now making the Ranch version in 7.62X39 that takes larger capacity Mini-30 magazines. There is no reason they can't do the same thing with a 223 version taking Mini-14 mags and I predict that it is just a matter of time. I'm waiting for that, but may get one in 7.62X39 anyway.
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Old December 4, 2017, 09:14 AM   #9
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I do not have any experience with the Ruger American but I do own 3 Savage rifles and have been very happy. One of them is a Savage Axis II chambered in 308 that I paid around $350 for with a low end Weaver scope. I can hit an 18 inch gong at 500 yards every time and I am by no means a marksman with a rifle. It is not often a rifle novice will hit a target at 500 yards with a $350 rifle/scope combo.

*If you do go with the Axis be sure to get the Axis II with the accutrigger. The original Axis is known for having a very poor trigger.
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Old December 4, 2017, 09:24 AM   #10
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Savage and Cabelas had a recent promotion on a Savage 12fv. With accutrigger which after the rebate cost a little over $200. Bought one and it shoots under an inch in 223. Friends also bought 5 more and all are doing what is expected.
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Old December 4, 2017, 10:44 AM   #11
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I have a Ruger American in .223 and a Savage Axis in .243. Both are great fun to shoot and capable of more accuracy than I am at this time. But I am improving.
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Old December 4, 2017, 02:43 PM   #12
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I would go with Savage both on price and being able to replace the barrel easily .

Cabella has two different rifles that only they carry, the 12FV and the 10T (Dicks and others have deals as well but not familair with them)

The 12FV has a low cost stock but has a much heavier than normal varmint barrel (per Savage speak - next step up is a bull so its pretty heavy as barrels go). Its like $319 right now withe a rebate.

The 10-T is a varmint contour barrel as well, 5R rifling has a rail mount, better stock. $549.

Both have the Savage Acu Trigger in th Varmint variation that adjust down to 1.5 lb.

Nice trigger, not quite bench rest but pretty darned good.

If you want a stock upgrade down the line Boyds makes great laminated stock of two types that match the composite for weather and look a lot better for under $150.

The two are an annoying trade off. I like the Top Bolt release and the 12FV has it but the 10-T does not.

For the price the 12FV is a better deal and you can put what extras you want on it. Lots of options for it.
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Old December 4, 2017, 02:54 PM   #13
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I dont have any experience with the Savage, but I do have the American Predator in 223 and it is a tac driver. Though its 1:8 it will still shoot the Sierra 80 gr SMK, but that bullet has to be loaded long so it wont fit the magazine. It has to be single loaded.

The SMK 77s are something else. They fit the magazine.

If you're wanting to get to 1000 yards, the RAP will do it, but you should use the 80 gr pills.

I put a brake on mine (the barrel is treaded), though it may sound silly but I like to watch the impact.

Heck I even put a brake on my RAP in 204 Ruger. Talk about PD Mist, you get to witness the whole thing.

Midway has the 1/2 - 28 DPMS brake (for the AR) that works quite well for about 40 bucks. I put this brake on both my 204 and 223 RAPs.
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Old December 4, 2017, 03:18 PM   #14
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Based on Savage customer service, I would choose Ruger.

It took Savage almost 3 months to replace a crappy barrel with a crappier barrel.

The new barrel even had a human hair half way down the bore.

I cannot vouch for Ruger's customer service because it has been over 20 years since I had to sen something back for them to work on. That was a M77.
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Old December 4, 2017, 04:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. Seems like neither is head and shoulders above the other and either would be a solid choice. I've been pretty satisfied with Ruger products in the past, never owned a Savage but always heard good things about them. I guess it may boil down to who has the best price when I plunk down my money.
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Old December 4, 2017, 04:38 PM   #16
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I own both rifles including one of those 12Vs from Cabelas for $319

While I like both, I would go with the Savage.
I would go with the Savage over any other rifle for less than $1000
And I would wait on a sale and pay less than $350
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Old December 4, 2017, 06:12 PM   #17
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Currently a $100 rebate.

I have had good response with Savage service but had not done one for a barrel return.

Cabbella had 50$ off along with the rebate, took the 12FV down to $269, pretty insane low price for a heavy barrel rifle.

Keeping in mind I shoot a lot, I look at the barrel as a wear out item and that is a significant plus (or you can upgrade the barrel at some point)

Either 12FV or the 10T in 223 with those heavier barrel would be like shooting a 22 (rimfire)
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Old December 4, 2017, 06:20 PM   #18
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As for the trigger, I both like and prefer a two stage.

While not that, the safety blade acts like that though it does not have the tension of a true two stage first part take up.

I don't claim to be that adaptable (ask my wife, fixed in his ways is often put on my head) but I had no issues with the blade.

Regardless what you get is a very nice evenly letting off trigger with good feel.

Its also easily adjustable.

I have shot a lot of guns over the years, its by far the best factory trigger.

The trigger on the Hog Hunter and other hunting rifles while it is an Acu Trigger, is the Hunter Acu and its goes down to 2.5 lbs adjustment (you can do a spring change to make it a Varmint range adjustment)

Savage is poor about using the same term for 3 different triggers in the Acu Series.

The last one seldom seen (very specific target only rifles with a warning them) is the Red Blade Target, that one goes down to 8 ounces.
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Old December 4, 2017, 07:21 PM   #19
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Great analysis, taylorce 1. Both good rifles with attributes and drawbacks that are mostly subjective in terms of what the shooter wants/needs in a particular rifle. For what it's worth, I'd pick the Ruger just from personal experience with the brand over the past 47 years or so.
Very similar rifles in terms of configuration, quality and general features. If it were possible to shoot both rifles (generally impossible in most retail store settings), I'd go with the more accurate one. You won't go wrong with either, imo.
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Old December 4, 2017, 07:25 PM   #20
VoodooMountain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dufus View Post
Based on Savage customer service, I would choose Ruger.

It took Savage almost 3 months to replace a crappy barrel with a crappier barrel.

The new barrel even had a human hair half way down the bore.

I cannot vouch for Ruger's customer service because it has been over 20 years since I had to sen something back for them to work on. That was a M77.
I had to return a lcR9 to Ruger. It locked up right out of the box. They were polite and prompt but I had to send it in twice to get it fixed. It came back the first time after 10 days or so but was still locked up.
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Old December 4, 2017, 09:15 PM   #21
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I have a Ruger Hawkeye in 223. 9 twist. It shot great when new, but I just had to tweak this and that, so it isn’t “stock” anymore. Great rifle, but I would like an equally accurate lighter rifle. Without question, i’d get a Tikka. Go work the bolt on a Tikka, then the RAR and the Savage. You’ll see.
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Old December 5, 2017, 05:19 AM   #22
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC20
I would go with Savage both on price and being able to replace the barrel easily .
Ruger American rifles use the barrel nut system as well, it's just as easy to swap a barrel on them as it is a Savage. The only drawback is you'll probably have to fabricate a barrel nut wrench or pay someone to do it. However, there are replacement barrel nuts out there you can purchase to make the next barrel swap easier.
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Old December 5, 2017, 05:57 AM   #23
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Unless you are familiar with, and have shot the packaged scope, i would stay away from the combo's.

My axis package came with a cheap scope and rings that are now doing duty on a air rifle.

I am sure you will enjoy either rifle. 223 bolt's are alot of fun.
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Old December 5, 2017, 09:32 AM   #24
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I posted earlier that I would take the Savage over any other sub-$1000 rifle made today. I was posting from my phone at the time, so let me add a little bit to that.

First of all, I didn't own a Savage rifle before less than a year ago. The first one I bought was the 10T-SR. I was looking to get into long range shooting and really didn't have anything in particular in mind but I went into a store and they had this rifle on sale and for the price of less than $500, I thought I would give it a chance (I was expecting to spend around $1500). I had a buddy that shot club level F-Class matches and he used a Savage and gave me his run down on why he went with a Savage and since I knew him to be a meticulous type of guy, he convinced me. So, I bought the rifle and it shot great. Not just good, great. I started shooting long range at a private range and various regulars there tried my rifle and every one of them said, if they had known you could get a rifle that shot like that, for that kind of money, they would definitely buy one. This rifle is in 6.5 Creedmoor. Another reason I chose this rifle besides price and reputation was that it was threaded for a suppressor (that is the SR in the model number: suppressor ready): I owned a .30 rifle suppressor and this was just one less thing I had to do to use it.

At that range, I met a guy that had a Savage-Ashbury rifle in .308 that he wanted to trade me for a .308 rifle I had. I traded him and started wringing out my new rifle. I fired over 40 different handloads with two different bullets, three different powders; 40 different loads in all, five shot groups, and I got to 40 loads before I had one five shot group go over an inch at 100 yards.

So at this point I owned two Savage rifles, both of which shot terrific for an out of the box, factory rifle. Based on this and the ease of changing Savage barrels and bolt heads, when I saw the sale at Cabelas, I ordered two of those 12FV rifles.

So here are a few of the reasons I would go with Savage:
For an out of the box, factory rifle, I seriously doubt you will get anything that shoots better.

The price on these things is incredible. I am not normally a price shopper. I buy what I think is the best thing I can afford. But, I certainly don't just ignore price. And for a rifle that shoots like these do for less than $350 ? You can't go wrong. On my 6.5 Creed, I have a $2500 scope on it. In part, I could afford this level of optic because I paid $400 for the rifle. And the rifle shoots good enough to get the most out of this caliber of optic.

The barrel nut. Barrels are a consumable item in rifles just like bullets and powder. If you shoot as much as I do, you are going to replace barrels. And with the Savage, you can do this at home with a few readily available tools. There are plenty of pre-chambered barrels available from major barrel manufacturers ready to screw in. The wrench, the barrel vice, and the headspace gauges are readily available. You can not only rebarrel the rifle, you can change calibers (within reason). You can also easily change out the bolt heads for cartridges with different head dimensions. I have changed out a half dozen or so AR15 barrels over the years so I have first hand experience in how nice it is to have the ability to rebarrel your own rifle.

There is all kinds of after market support for Savage rifles. You can get stocks, chassis, bolt handles, magazines (if your rifle uses a detachable magazine), optics rails, triggers....... Lots of aftermarket support. If there is something about the rifle that you don't like or think needs improvement; there is someone making the part to do it. This is often touted as a big advantage to going with a Remington 700 based rifle. And I am sure there is more stuff, and more variations of stuff available for the Remington 700 action, but how much do you need ? Most people who shoot a lot, "trick out" their rifles to some degree; they personalize them. And with the Savage, doing that is easy.

Basically, after owning bolt rifles made by Remington, Winchester, Tikka, Ruger, Armalite, ............... I honestly don't see the point in buying anything other than Savage. My experience is that they don't shoot any better and they cost more and in some cases, significantly more to get the same or less performance. Are Savage rifles the absolute best rifles being made today ? No. But for less than a thousand US dollars, I think they are at least as good as any factory rifle. And they are usually cheaper.
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How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

Last edited by 444; December 5, 2017 at 08:51 PM.
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Old December 5, 2017, 10:08 AM   #25
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I am a Ruger fan. I own far more Ruger rifles than any other brand. I love the way they look and feel. The second most common rifle in my safe is Savage. I have been disappointed with several Rugers over the years but have never been disappointed with a Savage. Savage rifles have always exceeded my expectations. Rugers almost never do. Buy a Savage with a $100 rebate and be prepared to be thrilled with it.
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